A common question we get asked at The WOD Life is, “What supplements should I be taking for functional fitness?” With so many supplements out there, it’s often hard to work your way through all of the scientific explanations and globo gym sales talk to determine if a particular supplement is suitable for you and your goals.
We must emphasize the first step to dialing in your supplementation is ensuring your nutrition is on point. Real food provides the best source of vitamins, minerals, and energy to succeed as an athlete. It’s important that you get comfortable with your diet.
Once you have your nutrition under control, there are a few supplements that can assist your performance as a functional fitness athlete, help you build strength, recover quickly, and improve your overall wellbeing. Here are our top six supplements for functional fitness.
Top 6 Supplements for Functional Fitness
1. Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 fats are one of the most popular supplements for athletes, often in the form of a fish oil supplement. The benefits of omega 3s are many, including:
- Improved brain health.
- Powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Exercise recovery.
- Muscle protein synthesis.
- Potentially positive effects on fat loss.
Tips: Be careful about the fish oil you are supplementing with as not all fish oils are the same. Ensure that you choose a supplement that uses purification systems to remove heavy metals and toxins.
Recommendation: Puori O3
2. Whey Protein
When any athlete thinks of supplements, whey protein is often the first that comes to mind. A staple in every athlete’s gym bag should be a high-quality whey protein. Designed to digest quickly and aid muscle recovery, whey protein taken within 10 minutes of training reduces the amount of stress hormones and cortisol that is released. Approximately 20-30g of protein help repair your tissue and reduce muscle soreness post workout.
Tip: Match your whey protein to your requirements. For post workout, look for a mix of carbohydrates and whey protein to help you refuel your energy and restore your muscles. Remember, only 20-30g of protein at a time!
Magnesium is a key supplement for the athlete, although often overlooked. It’s the one mineral the athlete is likely deficient in which could improve with supplementation. Magnesium is key as it helps regulate your heart, manages the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, reduces blood pressure, and plays an important role in the production of ATP, the main source of energy.
Tip: Avoid cheap forms of magnesium that are not as well absorbed by your body. Ideally, take magnesium post-workout on an empty stomach or before bed to aid your recovery process.
Recommendation: Mgbody Magnesium
4. Vitamin D
With our lifestyles working in offices or indoors, we do not receive sufficient sunlight to produce the required levels of vitamin D. Overall, vitamin D is a key component to reduce inflammation, improve your mood, and better your respiratory health. We all know that as athletes, we could definitely benefit from those factors to improve our lifts and WOD times. Vitamin D also helps us sleep better, as it allows the brain to release melatonin, letting us know it’s time to rest after a big day.
Tip: Take vitamin D at night, approximately an hour before bedtime.
Recommendation: Puori D3
Creatine is one of the most scientifically proven supplements available. Naturally produced in your body, creatine is often found in meat such as beef. Research studies have shown that additional supplementation with several grams of creatine supports strength, power, and explosiveness in athletes and helps to develop lean body mass.
If you are strength training or looking to build muscle, creatine taken immediately before and/or after training with an energy source such as carbohydrates is proven to improve your maximal strength, muscular endurance, and increase your anaerobic power.
Tip: Look for a creatine that doesn’t require a loading phase. Aim to also cycle on and off creatine, as required.
Recommendation: Creatine HCL Pure
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that supercharges your muscle tissue, applying more energy to your workout. Another important role of beta-alanine for the athlete is that it assists to delay the rise of lactic acid in your muscles, therefore preventing soreness mid-workout and allowing you to push harder for longer.
Tip: Beta-alanine is to be taken pre-workout only. Test with low doses first below the recommend dosage for personal tolerance levels.
Recommendation: ATP Science Beta Alanine
So there it is! A quick guide to the top six supplements for your training and competitions. Remember that these are just supplements. It’s important you dial in your nutrition first, and then you can get the most out of your performance with these complementary supplements.
Check out The WOD Life’s great range of supplements, curated specifically for the functional fitness athlete and weightlifter.